In this first episode of our 80s TV show, Badass Rogue-Guy and Ratch, we start off at the duo’s humble abode, the Weary Unicorn. Having exorcised a poltergeist for him a while back the owner and operator of the establishment, Ivello Rocco, offered the upper floor as a place to hang the party’s hats (provided rent is paid!).
This particular morning Ivello has two messages for the duo when Ratch inquires. One, a beggar woman’s cry for help about a missing daughter that came with a quickly scrawled address in a bad part of the city. The other, a nicely worded if informal in tone missive about being invited to work with the Sentinal Marshals of House Deneith. Fletcher and Ratch decide to investigate the missing daughter in the time they have before heading to the House Deneith Enclave.
Leaving the architectural anarchy and musical chaos of the entertainment district that is Hareth’s folly behind the party descends into the lower city in search of Grayfood, a Cliffside disctrict. After winding through several districts and down a couple of massive cargo lifts they arrive in Grayflood. Not knowing exactly where to start they canvas the area known as Three Dog Square, the border between the brothels of the red light district and warehouses of the docks themselves. The duo finds a crying woman hunched over in a nearby ally who begs them for help, not knowing this exactly why they are here.
The woman, Prada, admits to desperately seeking help all morning but to no avail. Her daughter Sarafina (who has a strange birthmark!) was sent to buy vegetables the night before and did not return. After briefly questioning the vegetable vendor Gorth, the duo decide to investigate a place the locals call the Roach Motel, really a busted down old inn named the Copper Kettle.
The inn laid at the end of a disused alley that was on little Sarafina’s route. It stank of rot and taint and as the duo got closer they could see cockroaches, hundreds of them covering the structure. Preparing for the worst Ratch pauses and performs a ritual in the middle of the dark alley; the sickly twisted phantom of despair tied to Ratch is summoned into physical existence. Not wanting to touch anything unless absolutely necessary, Fletcher puts a boot to the front door. Thousands of cockroaches, dozens of rotting bodies, and two flail wielding crazed roach-infested humans greet them. The inhabitants charge at Fletcher and Ratch slurring the words “For the Crawling Lord”. Ratch’s phantom becomes ectoplasmic and frighteningly real as it meets one head on absorbing hits from a swinging flail. Fletcher’s crossbow finds its mark and the roach-humans go down.
Upstairs the duo find another roach-human, this one has a little girl pinned to a table with its mouth over hers, slime dripping. It releases her, turns to face the party, and screeches. Skin rips open with ease and a human-sized cockroach emerges. It walks on its hind legs and waves the other four menacingly. A vicious close quarters fight takes place and blood is spilled on both sides, but the monster is finally cut down.
Rushing to little Sarafina’s aid Ratch finds something moving under her skin. Realizing he doesn’t have much time, Ratch decides to perform some immediate surgery, but the Copper Kettle is disgustingly filthy and Ratch did not bring his healer’s kit. Fletcher says he knows a madame in the area named Red, and that she might be able to provide a clean room and some tools. As Ratch is taking Sarafina out of the building, Fletcher hits up the bar of the Roach Motel looking for something strong and hopefully flammable. After scooping a couple bottles into a satchel and dumping out a few more on the tables and chairs, Fletcher brings out the flint and steel and sets the place ablaze.
Shouts of FIRE! are heard and a group of people form up to watch very quickly after, yet no one seems to move to put out the flames. Once securing a room and healer’s kit from Red, Ratch gets to work. After several hours of inducing vomiting and prodding the abdomen, Ratch is able to force the parasite out of Sarafina just enough to snatch it with some tongs. Feeling relieved, Fletcher and Ratch return Sarafina to her mother who feels so grateful that she tries to give them her only treasure. They refuse the treasure but do walk away with some valuables from the roach motel.